Liechtenstein Rejects Legalization of Abortion by Thinnest of Margins

By Dave Andrusko

Prince Alois of Liechtenstein

The margin was razor-thin, but voters in the principality of Liechtenstein yesterday rejected a referendum that would have legalized abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, “or if the child is severely disabled,” which is typically code for Down syndrome.

The margin was 52.3% to 47.7%–or a majority of 514 votes out of the 11,510 cast.

Last month, during National Day, Hereditary Prince Alois said that he would use his veto power to block legalization. He said legalizing abortion would lead to late term abortions for unborn children with a disability.

“Until now we have been proud to support people with disabilities in our country,” he said. “The proposal would discriminate against such people and allow them to be eliminated in the womb.”

Proponents have a Plan B, which Alois has yet to take a public position on. Currently abortions are against the law whether performed in Liechtenstein or in another country. The alternative is that abortion would remain a criminal offense in this tiny principality but not punished if the abortion takes place abroad.

Liechtenstein is one of a handful of countries that prohibit most abortions, including Ireland, Malta, and Poland.

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